flightless hag

A chronicle of the adventures of birdwoman: a lonely, talentless freak who wanders the internet in search of entertainment.

My Photo
Location: Philly

I'm a 40-something married white female, survivor of weight watchers, avid reader of pulp. Dogs (not cats), extreme right (handed, not politics), ENTJ, alto, wanna-be knitter.

January 28, 2006

Image Shattered

I've always been an avid reader of crap. Check out my Amazon reviews if you don't believe me (oh, and WHY do you always get "unhelpful" ratings on your reviews when you crap on a book? Say it's the best thing since the Bible, and you get helpful ratings left and right... grrrr... but I digress.)

Anyway, I was off reading about some Harry Potter news (JKR has released the Black family tree, and there's all sorts of other names there... lots of potential plot thickens stuff). Anyhow, one of the commenters on the board said there was some news in Italy that JKRowling wasn't the real author of Harry Potter. She was made up. Like Carolyn Keene.

Carloyn Keene was made up? I thought.


Nancy Drew's adventures were written by a slew of authors. Some of them even dudes.

I feel so duped.



January 25, 2006

Word of the Day

Courtesy of Roget’s Thesaurus


NOUN: A person, traditionally a woman, who persistently nags or criticizes: fishwife, fury, harpy, scold, birdwoman, shrew, virago, vixen. Informal : battle-ax.

Now, to figure how to pronounce termagant... it’s a great harlequin romance word, no?



January 24, 2006

Hey, My Self Taught History/Civics Has Paid Off!

I certainly didn't learn any of this in school. But I've read some since! I pulled this from Monika who stopped by. Thanks, Monika!!

You Passed the US Citizenship Test

Congratulations - you got 10 out of 10 correct!


January 23, 2006

My Mother: Coffee Snob

For those of you who know my mom, you may be surprised to hear this.

She's a coffee snob.

She's down for the winter with us (thank the Gods, one less child in daycare for 3 months!!). Since she only drinks 3 things: coffee, water, and blackberry brandy, our coffee consumption has gone up considerably.

John, in his continual quest to be a culinary black belt, had taken "coffee" as a project for the last few months.

He's been experimenting with which beans, what temperature, what grind, additives in the grinds (some say a dash of salt removes some bitterness...). He'd gotten to make some nice stuff. But Mom really wasn't into it.

She told me, off the record, that the stuff we were drinking? It just isn't coffee. It doesn't even smell like coffee.

So, I took a little gamble. I told John to buy the stuff in the blue can - comes pre-ground. He brewed up a pot, I poured her a cup and handed it to her. The sniff (all coffee drinkers sniff before drinking - have you noticed that?) then, a pause. Her eyes got bright.


She drained the entire pot that morning. This is saying something, since I didn't drink any, and I usually have at least one big mug full.

Maxwell House. To hell with Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts and their swill. Maxwell House is The mojo. And, it's good to the last drop!



I Feel Really Bad For The Coal Miners…

But, really.

They had a rep talking on the news this morning. He was complaining quite vociferously that the companies are only interested in profit – not really in safety. The only reason there are any safety measures in place is because the companies don’t want to pay out damages and claims if a worker gets hurt.

So the dude was complaining because the company doesn’t give him a warm fuzzy?

I mean, really, dude. Do you go down into the ground and dig up coal because you feel it’s your duty and mission in life? Or do you do it because you, Dear Mother of God, want to make some MONEY you vile, filthy, greedy fiend?



January 18, 2006

An Ode to Artemis

Last night, there was a program on the National Geographic channel about the Moon (Behind the Mysteries: Moon Mysteries… but I can’t find a link for it…). There’s so much about the Moon that I didn’t know.

I have read that the Moon was the product of a
collision between two heavenly bodies – the end results being Earth and Moon. After this “big bump” occurred, the moon was quite close to Earth. It started moving away from the Earth after the bump, and is still moving away from us at about an inch a year or so. Its proximity over the years has been absolutely pivotal in the development of life on Earth.

So, anyway, what are some of the cool things the moon has done for us?

Well, it seems that many… err… moons ago, there was a chance alignment of the gas giants (Jupiter Saturn Uranus and Neptune) which caused a change in the gravitational balance of the solar system. This sent hoardes of objects from the asteroid belt hurtling toward the inner solar system and the tiny planets orbiting there. (I can find no links for this online. Perhaps I misheard the program. However, heavy bombardment of the Moon is documented in several places such as
this). Earth, because of its own gravitation, was a target for many of these projectiles. The Moon was so close at that point that it acted as a shield and intercepted most of these objects. The scars from these impacts can be seen to this day on the lunar surface – 80% of which is scarred from this time period.

So the Moon gets pummeled, and the Earth keeps spinning, relatively unharmed. But even the spinning was aided by the presence of the Moon. The Moon acts as a stabilizer,
balancing our planet as it spins. Without it, our planet would most likely tilt to the point where the tropics could freeze and the poles could become deserts. The gyroscope action keeps us on a more-or-less stable spin axis.

Just as the earth has its gravitational pull, so does the Moon. Most of us know that this is manifested in the tides. (Some also speculate that volcanic and earthquake activity are also heavily influenced by lunar gravitation.) But, back when she was a much closer neighbor, the lunar gravity had a profound, dual impact on Earth.

First, the gravitational pull when the Moon was very close in proximity
caused major torque, which slowed down our spin frequency. It is calculated that Earth’s initial spin was as fast as 6 hours – as opposed to the 24 hours we have now. This slowing of spin allowed the Earth’s atmosphere to stabilize.

Also, the gravitational pull as the Moon started to move away caused huge tides (thousands of feet).
This violent soup mixed the right elements to form primordial ooze. Said ooze is thought to have been the origin of terrestrial life.

The Moon is still on the move. As it moves farther away from us, our atmosphere will become less stable. Our world will tilt. Tides will not be based on lunar pull, if they exist at all. Shortly after that, the sun will become so hot that Earth would be inhospitable for life, anyway.

For the duration of when life COULD exist on Earth, Artemis has provided the conditions that made life possible, even comfortable.

One could say it’s all coincidence. I suppose.



January 13, 2006

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

In case you’ve been in a cave recently, here’s something so you’re all up to speed on the Roger Keith Coleman case (and, incidentally, why do all bad, bad guys get reported on with three names? Is it a media rule?). Coleman was executed in 1992 for the heinous crime of raping, murdering, and mutilating his sister-in-law. DNA tests, fledgling though they were at the time, indicated Coleman as the culprit. Other evidence said the same.

Coleman, like every other person in jail, was innocent of all charges.

He protested his innocence right to the moment of his death.

10+ years later, as he’s leaving office, Govenor Warner (a potential prezzie candidate) agreed to more sophisticated testing to get the absolute truth of the matter.

And the truth? Coleman is guilty as sin. He’s also, surprise surprise, a liar. (funny, the inquirer had two HUGE front page stories yesterday showing how terrible it would be when the DNA evidence came back exonerating our poor hero. It’s just a sidebar today, now that the truth is outed. But there’s no political motive there. No siree.)

So, of course, the pro-death-penalty camp is all full of “see I told you so” and the pro-life-camp is all “this proves nothing.”

In fact, the closing of the inquirer’s story is a quote from the Innocence Project (not to be confused with the Innocence Mission, a groovy band from Lancaster): “Other governors should take their lead from Gov. Warner and do post-execution testing in their cases, because there’s no reason not to. It’s all about getting to the truth.”

I can name one reason not to. Expense. The jury found the guy guilty, enough so to put him to death. What a huge waste of resources! Unless there is significant question as to the verdict (in which case, I’d hope the governor would have granted stay), there is no reason TO do this testing.

Am I being a dope, or just callous?


(final aside: the crime happened in the town of Grundy. If you lived in the town of Grundy, wouldn’t you petition to change the town’s name? I would.)


Stinky’s School Goes Too Far

So, the daycare that we subject our children to is as even-handed as they can be. During the holiday season, they learn the Dradel song, but there’s nothing about what that holiday means to the Jews. (They never mention Rosh Hashana or Yom Kippur as they pass.) They have Santa and Rudolph, but despite being housed in a church, no Christian religious connections were drawn to the holiday. Kwanzaa, however, gets the full-blown treatment.

I am SO SICK of this school telling my kids they have so much to learn from other cultures who are ripping themselves apart while they only give a passing nod to our own culture – in this area it’s still overwhelmingly European Christian. So, let’s go over what we’ve “learned’ about Kwanzaa and Western African (African-American) tradition from what Sean’s teachers sent home.

Today, Stinky brought home a menorah. Except, it’s not a menorah. It’s a stupid Kwanzaa candle holder.

Each of the candles stands for a principle, many of which seem to be pillars of socialism. The children colored each candle and learned each lesson [except maybe my interpretation of the lesson]:
Unity (Umoja) – “We help each other” [and it’s working so well for us. East Africa has no civil unrest. Errrm.]
Self-Determination (Kujichagulia) – “We decide things for ourselves.” [Only to have the decisions reversed by the next two points:]
Collective Work (Ujima) – “We work together to make life better.” [for others]
Cooperative Economics (Ujamma) – “We build and support our own businesses” [and in the spirit of cooperation, we give most of the profits to the local big-man.]
Purpose (Nia) – “We have a reason for living” [yeah, collective work and cooperative economics. Heh.]
Creativity (Kuumba) – “We use our minds and hands to make things.” [but not machines. Leave that to the western devils.]
Faith (Imani) – “We believe in ourselves, our ancestors, and our future.” [and the strange, dead tree over in the corner that looks like a god.]

On top of all this, the stupid holiday is crap. It was
made up by some stoned professor in some socialist school in California.

Swahili - the language each of the principles is stated in - is not even a language the slaves would have used! It’s an
Eastern African language, and most slaves were originally from West Africa (Ivory Coast area).

So, we’ve a fake holiday – coincidentally occurring at the exact time of one of the highest Christian holy times - which uses stolen religious paraphernalia in an inaccurate language … all in the name of promoting socialism.

And they’d rather teach this than sing “Away in a Manger.”



January 11, 2006

I Have Crappy Taste

They’ve killed 2 of my shows now… Killer Instinct and Threshold.

I hated Invasion, but was intrigued by the alien story told by Data and friends in Threshold. I despised Bones, with its trite dialogue and silly characters, but really liked Killer Instinct, another trite cop show whose braniac chic lead actually seems to have a heart and is not written to be a superhero, and whose male lead can carry cold sarcasm quite a bit better than David Boreanaz ever could.

My only hope is that someday, these get released onto DVD sometime in the near future, so I can see where they were supposed to end up.



If You Love Him, Give Him Crabs!

So, The Heir has been complaining about a sore tooth. Daddy has looked and saw nothing. I looked when brushing and flossing his teeth Monday night. Lo and behold, there’s a gaping hole.

I was amazed at my own calm. “Hey, kid, it’s nothing. Look in my mouth. See if you can count all the silver spots. Hey, can’t count to a google? Well, never mind then! And I survived!”

But to John, I was all freaked out. We brush the kids’ teeth 2 times a day. We floss. We rinse. We give fluoride drops. We don’t let them have juice, but they drink milk and water instead. Yes, they get dessert. But come on! My 5 year old has cavities. The emergency dentist appointment yesterday revealed 4 of them. He has his first filling.

I HATE being a parent. Have I said that before?

So, anyway, being the lame-ass parents we are, we tried to make up for letting his teeth rot out of his head by spoiling the crap out of him yesterday. He got a wand that lights up, so his Harry Potter spells carry a little more weight (though his mispronunciation of the incantations would make Flitwick cringe!). He got to pick what he wanted for lunch (he wanted Chinese dragon bones – yes, he’s just like his dad.) And, when they offered him a little crab of his own, his dad said, “Sure, why not?”

My mom summed it up (I really am just like her.) When John said, “they gave it to him, free. What was I supposed to do?” Mom said, “If they offered you an alligator, would you have brought that home?”

Now, Bill sits on my kitchen counter.

Why Bill? That’s what Stinky named him. Of all the crusty, bellicose names he could have had, Bill was what he got.

So watch for the new and shining adventures of Bill, the crab. Last night, Bill almost got poached (his jar was originally placed on top of the toaster oven, which got a bit warm when John was making the garlic bread for the evening.)

I’m sure he’ll lead a very interesting, if short, life.



January 09, 2006

Since I Can’t Call In To Radio Shows

There was apparently some sort of big shindig in Philly last night (reg. req) . Rick Santorum, Jerry Falwell, and Rev. Herbert Hoover Lusk were among the big-whigs there. I heard about it this morning on my local morning radio show. I couldn’t call to respond to the guys (I’m in my car listening, and don’t use a cell when I’m driving), so I’m using my blog to express my opinion…

It was a bit scary, I tell you, listening to my elected official talking about how Christianity is under fire by the left. Last I checked, PA was not in the Bible belt. Santorum will definitely NOT get my vote next time around – defender of big government spending and crazy Bible nuts that he is.

Don’t get me wrong, I do think there are a group of fringe who would like all reference to religion eradicated from our daily life. I don’t think they’re the majority. And I think they’re wasting court resources and tax dollars trying to do stupid things like remove “in God we trust” from money. I oppose these losers simply on an economic basis!

The local talk show host is a pretty conservative guy (Michael Smerconish), and he’s pretty outspoken, but he took a “friend” of his with him. His friend is a Democrat voting liberal. Let’s call him Bob.

Bob and I agree that secularism is good. Where we disagree, though, is enforced secularism. Bob proclaimed to be a religious man, a regular church-goer. He made a big deal of his devout-ness. But he thinks it’s a good idea to enforce the removal of silly things like the ten commandments from a courthouse.

I see no point in this, and what’s more, as I said before, I think it’s an unnecessary expense. Prevent further Judeo-Christian paraphernalia if you feel you must, but just leave the historical stuff alone.

Then Bob went off on a rant.

He goes to church. He takes his children to church every week where they practice religion. Then, they go to school and learn math and science. Religion is for church and we should leave it in church. He's probably all in favor of removing Christian music from school concerts. As a choir singer, this particularly peeves me. Some of the best ensemble work written is sacred. From a musical and cultural perspective, we're robbing children by not exposing them to sacred music.

In the end, though, I felt the need to point out the emperor's outfit or lack thereof.

I don’t profess to be any kind of religious person. But I have attended enough different churches to get the idea that, for a truly religious person, faith is the BASE of life. To say that religion should be left in church is just what the non-devout think. So, anything Bob said after that was a wash for me.

It’s kind of like listening to a person spout how great they are because they’re vegetarian, and you look down and they’re sporting leather shoes.

And then I pulled into the parking lot and entered Spaceleys, to think only of sprockets for a few hours. Right.



I'm Gonna Be RICH

OK, so this dude in Britain has sued the state.

He was a cop who, he claimed, was discriminated against because of his color.

BUT, it's not what you think.

He says that political correctness caused the system to OVER promote him - put him into jobs where he was not qualified - simply because of his race.

Because he wasn't experienced or trained enough, he made mistakes, which caused him to lose his position and put a mark on his record.

Since the state settled, they must agree.

I think I'll go sue Princeton for letting me in simply because I was a white chick. There was NO WAY I should have been there, otherwise. They were having a hard time finding white chicks - so they let in a bunch of us who were sub-standard. How do I know? We all - to a man... er woman - failed our general exams. Let me tell you, the stress that this put upon me; the years of mental anguish I suffered trying to pass in a program in which I did not belong?! Dude!

(Of course I wouldn't sue. They gave me a marvellous opportunity. It's not their fault I'm a moron!! But the truth of the matter is, I should not have been there, and it was insulting to those who got in on merit that I was.)

The pendulum is swinging. Amen.


(hat tip to Tim Blair)